Author Rambles: I'm on a roll. Need I say anymore?
And the Angst Queen did cry: "ANGST ANGST ANGST ANGST!"

Also, I worry about me. :P

This has Bully-but –then –Big-Brotherly! Dean, Emo-and- depressed! Sam, mentions of Guardian! Gabriel and Surprisingly- kind! Crowley. Yup, it's the full crew.

Warning: Contains swearing, violence, angst, mentions of attempted suicide, and attempted non-con. Yup, I like to hurt Sammy. You read at your peril, all right?

Disclaimer: As always, I do not own Supernatural. Not even a teeny knife or weeny gun. If I did, well… Life would be good.

Pro Bono

'Lover and friend hast Thou put far from me; and darkness is my only companion.'
~'The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing', M.T Anderson. ~

It had been one of those days.

One of those really bad days.

Firstly, the hunt his brother and himself had been working on had been stamped with, 'case closed', but it had come at a price. After it having seemed pretty simple at the time. All that had to be done was a little salt-and-burn routine of a violent ghost's corpse, and then the small town in Kansas would no longer suffer the wrath of the girl who had been brutally murdered. No more disappearing townsfolk. No more headless bodies to be found. Everyone could have gone home happy.

But since they are Winchesters, and also since the Apocalypse just happens to be nigh, well… Everything just had to go wrong, didn't it?

The ghost of Doris Grey had not taken too kindly to their antics and had sent him flying across the graveyard. When he had got back on his feet, it had attempted to strangle him, before resorting to throwing him back towards a headstone. Dean had been torn between saving him or finishing the job and getting rid of the bitch, but then things got out of hand. Two local kids who had taken a shine to him and his big brother throughout their investigation in the town had followed them to the graveyard, and had then decided to intervene when the ghost tried to kill them.

But they were just kids. Just fourteen years old. They didn't have the knowledge or strength needed to hold off such a powerful and pissed off spirit, and both had ended up being killed. Killed in front of his eyes while he was helpless to do anything. Dean managed eventually to set the remains of Doris on fire but by then it was too late. The teenagers were dead.

And that was just the icing on the cake. Because the second reason why this was a bad day was that he and his brother had had a huge argument. They had really shouted at one another. It was all down to exhaustion, pain and grief and it had simply gotten out of hand, but they then started in on other topics to use for ammunition, too.

It had not helped that both were feeling the threat of Lucifer with each passing day. Ever since Gabriel had been killed, Sam had felt lonelier and more depressed everyday, and even defeating three Horsemen had not improved his mood, or his big brother's. Because they were ready to give up and give in. Heaven and Hell wanted them to be vessels for the heavy-weights, namely Lucifer and Michael, and no one seemed to care about the humans caught up in the mess. No one seemed to care about how they both felt about being used as toys by supernatural creatures. It was causing a huge strain in their relationship, as one day Dean would mention that he was, 'done' and Sam had to lecture him not to give up. Or else Dean would be plain drunk, or sunk in a fit of depression, and Sam had to raise his spirits whilst he too was suffering on the inside. Yet if he had the audacity to mention he wanted to give up, woe betide him as Dean would rant and rage to him.

And another thing. Dean had been willing to work with a demon – a demon, for crying out loud – in order to get more of the Horsemen's rings. Sam had not believed such a thing to be possible. After the grief his brother had given him over working with Ruby the year before. True, Dean had been right, but the fact remained that he was certainly being hypocritical now.

So yes, relations were tense.

And yes, having an argument was not a good idea. Especially not at a time like this. But it had got to a point where Sam did not care anymore. He felt like he was alone. Like there was no one there for him, not even his big brother. And he was damn tired of skirting around the topic of vessels and giving up and the final battle. So he had exploded.

With dire consequences.

"Christ, Sam. We couldn't have helped them! You were pinned down and so was I!" Dean growled at his younger brother whilst prowling around the motel room.

Sam snorted. "I just lay there. I froze, man. I fucking froze and now two innocent kids are dead because of me!" He shouted, dragging a hand through his hair in his frustration.

"It is not your fault! Are many more times do we have to go through this, Sam? Look, I'm sorry about what happened, I really am. But you have to learn to accept this and move on. We have other things to worry about!" Dean had thundered, but Sam decided to fight back.

"They are people, Dean! You can't forget that they had their whole lives ahead of them!"

"Sam, if we don't concentrate on cleaning up the Apocalypse that's looming – in case you haven't noticed that it is yet – a lot of kids will die!" Dean shook his head. "We have to help them-"

Sam burst out laughing, but it was the bitter, sarcastic kind. "Wait, you're being the hero today, is that it? You want to save people; save the World? Wait 'til tonight when you'll have to get pissed to crack a smile, Dean. Then see if you can lecture me on helping people!" Even as the words – the desperate words he had always yearned to say – were leaving his mouth Sam knew he had made a big mistake. Dean's emerald eyes had flashed in sheer anger and his mouth had narrowed dangerously.

"You can't talk to me like that." The words were flat but edged with rage. "Hell, you don't have the right to even think that! You are the one who started this whole mess, Sam! Jesus, you caused the Devil to break free and now look where we are. Right up Shit Street. It's your fucking fault, Sam!" Dean yelled, slamming his fist down on the cheap-looking wooden desk in the corner of the room. Sam jumped at the noise.

Sam knew Dean was saying the truth, but it hurt. It hurt him so much that he could feel his eyes prickling. It was his fault. He had gone off with Ruby, helped the Deil pop out of his box and now he had to admit that in doing so, he had caused the Apocalypse to begin. But that Dean should say such things to him… It broke his heart. His already broken heart.

He looked up at his brother and saw that there was not one hint of remorse written on his angry features.

"I know… I know it's my fault, Dean" Damn, why was his voice suddenly so small and weak sounding? "And I'm sorry, but-"

"You're sorry?" Dean shook his head again. "'Sorry' doesn't even begin to cover it, Sam. So don't say it to me. Not now and not ever."

There was a thick silence. Sam decided once more to try and beg for his brother's forgiveness.

"Dean, please. I-" He was cut off by Dean holding up one hand.

"Just get out, Sam. I don't want to see you right now." The words caused Sam to blink furiously, but one look at his brother made him realise it was hopeless to try again. Picking himself up off his bed, he somehow made his way to the door of the motel room.

"Dean…" He paused with his hand on the door, biting his lip desperately. His big brother, the brother who once told him that he would always been there for him, always loved him, sighed.

"Just go, Sam." And by the clinking of a bottle, Sam knew what Dean would do next. Maybe it was better for him to leave the room. He couldn't cope seeing his brother drink himself into oblivion each and every night. It wasn't right. Dean had always been the strong, capable one.

But now he was breaking down in front of him. Just breaking slowly, little cracks appearing over time.

That makes two of us, Sam thought with a sad smile as he left the motel.

That had been over three hours ago. It was now ten o'clock at night and Sam had spent those three hours hidden away in a small bar a few streets away from the motel. It was wrong of him, he knew, to be there. He shouldn't been resorting to alcohol to banish his problems like his brother did. But he no longer had the luxury of someone who would be there to listen to him and comfort him.

Maybe he asked for too much. But Gabriel… Gabriel certainly had not thought so. Gabriel had liked to appear late at night, when Dean was sleeping or talking to Cass so he could have Sam to himself, or early in the morning, so Sam and himself could go for a stroll around a few streets together. The Archangel could be teasing, cheeky and could test his patience to the limit, but he never, ever made him feel alone or unloved. He loved thinking up ways to put a smile of Sam's face, and loved conjuring up peaceful locations with the snap of his fingers for Sam to feel safe in.

Dean had long since left with Cass, with a mumble of, 'I'm hungry. Catch you later.' He had been left there with naught but his thoughts until Gabe had shown up. Sam had once again talked about ending it all, and this time had gathered several bottles of prescription meds and had locked himself away in the bathroom. He had opened the bottles and was preparing himself when he broke down. Completely and utterly broke down.

Gabriel had appeared after becoming suspicious of Sam's being in the bathroom, and he was greeted by a sobbing wreak of a man, huddled in a ball under the filthy sink.

"Oh, Sammy-boy…Not again…" He had muttered sadly, looking at the scattered white pills. He had snapped his fingers, they had disappeared and he had looked at him, with such concern in those hazel eyes that Sam sobbed harder.

"I can't even kill myself, Gabriel." He hiccupped. "I am such a fucking waste. I can't do anything right. Except end the World. I know I can do that!" He had laughed hysterically before crying again.

"Sammy…" Gabriel shook his head before sitting down beside Sam, and tenderly picked him up in his arms. With one hand he started to stroke Sam's hair, and with the other he gently but firmly removed the small handful of pills still stuffed in Sam's hand. "Shh, sweetheart. You can't keep doing this. It won't help matters." He looked at the crying man in his arms who looked so young and fragile. "You have to be strong. You have to show my idiotic older brother that you can stay above him and not give in. Lucylu wants to see this!" He sighed.

"Gabriel, I can't do this anymore. I can't. I'm losing myself the more this goes on. I can't cope. I can't cope." Sam gulped, shaking his head. Another huge sob wracked through his shuddering frame. He clung to the Archangel, and looked up at him. "I can't cope!"

The Archangel carefully brushed away several fallen tears from Sam's face whilst he kept stroking his hair. The familiar action was soothing to Sam, who could feel himself calming down slightly.

"Sammy-boy, I know you can. I've watched you for so long, longer than you know. What crap you've overcome over the years… You can ride out this storm. You have it in you." The Archangel suddenly grinned. "'Sides, you have the sheer awesomeness of me. What more can you possibly want?"

Sam found himself smiling. He buried his head into Gabriel's chest, hiccupping slightly. Gabriel laughed.

"You are adorable when you do that!" He dropped a kiss onto Sam's head. "Now, I think you need to lie down; get some rest. You're exhausted."

Before Sam could reply, he found himself lying down on his bed with Gabriel beside him. He smiled, feeling safe. But he was worried that that feeling would not last for long – once he had fallen asleep, then Lucifer would be there; ready to plague him with frightening nightmares.

"And don't worry about Lucy." Gabriel could always read his thoughts, damn it. "He ain't coming to bother you if I'm here, trust me. I get the whole, 'How could you, Gabriel. How could you betray your brothers', yadda yadda though. But he won't touch you." Gabriel promised, resting his head on Sam's shoulder. "Now go to sleep, Sammy-boy."


"Damn it, don't you ever at least try and sleep?" Exasperation was mixed with amusement, "I spoil you, Winchester. I know I do."

"I do love you, you know that?" Sam blushed slightly, and kept his eyes closed. He could hear Gabriel giggling.

"Awk, you really are adorable." Gabriel lazily draped an arm around Sam. "I know you do, sweetheart. And as kind of you as it is to say that, I want you to sleep." A pause. "Love you too. Now will you sleep?"

And thus Sam Winchester fell asleep with a smile on his face, feeling happier than what he had in weeks.

"You want one more, kid?" The old barkeeper looked him up and down with something that could be described as concern, but Sam shrugged it off. He knew he must look a sight – cut on his forehead, a black eye – not to mention he had been sitting alone by himself for two hours, drinking slowly but with the motive to drink a lot. But it was his choice; his decision.

"Yes. Another." He was glad to see that he wasn't slurring his words yet. He hated hearing Dean do that, and hopefully he wouldn't end up going the same way.

At the thought of Dean, Sam sighed and looked at the now replenished glass before him, gazing into its depths. He wondered what Dean was doing – drinking? Sleeping? Bitching to Cass? Oddly enough though, regardless of what his brother had said, he felt naught but sympathy for Dean. Sam wasn't angry at him; he was angry at himself. He deserved the pain and depression that had been his companions for so long; the feelings that had intensified since… Since Gabriel's death. He had started all this. It was his fault. He had been too stupid and too blind to see what Dean had seen two years ago – Ruby should never have been trusted. Even a year ago when Dean had been brought back from Hell he had not listened to his brother's warnings, but had gone ahead and willingly killed Lilith. He had believed he had been doing an act of good, not knowing that he had been played right from the very beginning by Ruby. But that was beside the point. He had still been an accomplice in releasing Lucifer himself from his cage, and now he had shoulders burdened with guilt and hands stained with blood. It was his entire fault, he knew. He had to accept responsibility for his actions.

He drained the glass in one go, and set it down on the bar again with a thump. He felt somewhat dizzy, no doubt due to the large amount of alcohol he had just consumed. Sam caught the look the barman threw his way. Clearly the man believed that Sam was heading to total oblivion tonight, and he seemed reluctant to head over with a refill anytime soon.

Sam sighed, running a finger around the rim of the now-empty glass. His thoughts were slightly blurred and jumbled, but one thought managed to rid itself of the fog. He rubbed his temples, trying to banish the headache that was threatening to emerge there.

Why was he here? He was not like his brother, prone to relying heavily on drink in order to cope with depression, was he? Again he saw the barman, and again he thought about how he must look. Did he really look that desperate? He must. Lowering his head so the barman could not see how ashamed he looked, Sam made up his mind and decided to leave the place. It wasn't helping him cope, far from it. He would end up being drunk, and if Dean was too, then the two of them could have another fight. Which wasn't something that Sam wished to participate in, not now. Getting lost in the midst of alcohol wouldn't solve his problems, he knew that.

Calling the barman over, and watching him take his time coming over to him made Sam inwardly cringe again with shame. But he pushed that thought to the back of his mind and quickly dug out a handful of bills, placed them on the bar next to his glass, and slipped off the chair he had been sitting in. The barman smiled at him, but it was followed by such a look of pity that Sam ducked his head and quickly walked away. He didn't deserve pity, not after what he had done. He deserved anger and hate. That he could deal with. But pity from a stranger? He shook his head and left the bar.

If Sam had been less focused on his thoughts and grief, if he had not left so quickly and without a second thought or look, he would have noticed that two men quietly left their seats and followed him out. But as it was, he did not know this, and so Sam Winchester walked away from the bar, not aware that he would so be walking into danger. And walking into it alone.

Yeah, I'm sorry Dean was a dick. He'll be nicer in the next chappy, no worries.
This was MEANT to be a oneshot, but nooo, my fingers typed too much. It's gonna be at least three chapters now, possibily four. Please stick by me, lads. :P

Reviews are actually Gabriel-cuddles in disguise. :L